Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
Pairings: France/Joan of Arc, hints of Maya/Phoenix
Characters: \\serious!francis bonnefoy\jeanne d'arc\maya fey\special ten-second appearance by pearl fey\\
I'm fighting for your sake—
Even with all the times Francis had visited Kiku's house, or any of the neighboring houses in the rich Japanese village, he has not yet seen a room such as grand and majestic as the one whose doorway he stood in now. The walls were made out of what could only be the finest wood and the silk rug his bare feet were standing on was softer than the coats he himself (France!) owned. The candles were scented with sweet incense that made him feel…at peace.
"Mystic Maya will see you now," the cute young girl next to him says, fingering the top of her strange pretzel hairstyle, referring to the master spirit channeler both Alfred and Kiku had recommended. Francis looks her over – very pretty for a sixteen-year-old, but he mustn't think of that right now – and gives her a smile.
He enters the high-ceilinged room, marveling only for a minute at its beauty, and turns to face the woman sitting on the lovely mat. She is young, all right – while certainly older than Alfred or Elizaveta physically, she can't possibly be physically older than Francis himself. And he thinks – she only human, so very young and she is already a master at this craft, while it has taken him – them – so long to perfect the things they are good at.
And she is very lovely, indeed. Ebony dark hair so much like Lien's hair trails down fair skin to her waist, and her closed, focused eyes coupled with her pretty face results in beauty like his Angelique's, and yet when she opens them they sparkle with an wise innocence so much like Matthew's his heart jolts with the familiar sensation of an empty nest. For a second he wonders if she is doing this unconsciously, and he swells with even more admiration for the Kurain Master, when she speaks. "Good morning, Mr. Bonnefoy," she whispers, pronouncing his name in near-perfect French almost ethereally. "I am Maya Fey, Kurain Master."
Francis draws in his breath and replied "Good morning," feeling compelled to bow hastily, almost sloppily.
"You have come for a channeling?" Maya asks, staring at him with unmoving gray eyes. Francis nods, and she seems to understand. "Who would you like channeled?" she then asks.
Francis bites his lip and takes a deep breath. Anything to see her again, anything to hear her voice… "Saint Joan of Arc," he tells Maya firmly. "Heroine o-of—" his voice cracks, and he forces himself to regain composure. "France." Himself. His own heroine.
A look of confusion and uncertainty flashes across her face, but she, as well, regains her composure quickly. She is, after all, only human, he tells himself. "…as you wish," she tells him firmly. Determined to please the customer, as if it is a forced thing. "Take a seat, please," she adds, gesturing for him to sit in front of him, which he does – almost uncertainly. Maya closes her eyes, and chants a mystical prayer under her breath. Francis gulps, and wonders what he has gotten himself into when suddenly it is over and his eyes fly open and his heart is in his throat once again.
The woman standing in front of him is Maya, but at the same time it is not Maya. She has those same gray eyes, but at the same time they are a mysterious, dark brown shade, the exact same color they were all those centuries ago. And her hair, while long, dark and smooth, at the same time has that bob-shape and the light stringiness he'd so missed…
"Jeanne—" He'd practiced for this moment so many times over in the days leading up to this, saying her name so many times, and he is embarrassed that her name, her beautiful name, comes out as a choked sob. "Jeanne…"
"Francis," she says in a mixture of sweetness and shock. And in that moment, when she says his name, he is convinced that it truly is Jeanne d'Arc, the woman who led him to victory, the woman Arthur had wrongly accused of witchcraft, sitting in front of him. "I-I'm being channeled?" When Francis nods, her eyes widen. "I-it's you…"
"Jeanne—" And once again, he is embarrassed that that is all he can say. And he clasps her in a tight hug, the tears freely flowing. "Oh, Jeanne, I'm so sorry," he babbles incoherently. "I shouldn't have – Arthur, he – all my fault…"
"Francis." In that moment he becomes aware that there are also tears in those lovely eyes of hers. She pushes him away and clamps her hands on his shoulders. "What I did was my own decision, Francis," she tells him, her eyes glistening with salty liquid. "I knew what was going to happen, but I did it anyway." All of a sudden the tears threaten to spill. "I did it for you, Francis," she chokes, sobbing. "All for you. I fought for your sake." It is then that the dam bursts and Jeanne cries freely into Francis' arms, and he cries along with her.
"Thank you, Jeanne," he mumbles, burying his face in her hair. "Thank you so much."
It is then that suddenly it is Maya he is holding in his arms, then Jeanne, then Maya, then Jeanne once again. "It isn't your fault, Francis," she tells him thickly. "I'm just happy to have done my part." She smiles thinly at him, and her body morphs into Maya's for just a second again. "I'm an old soul," she mutters. "I've been dead for a very long time. Not even a master at this can hold me for long." Her smile lessens by just a fraction, and Francis feels his heart breaking all over again, like that time – those flames, he will never forget – but Jeanne hugs him again, tighter this time, and kisses him on the cheek. "Goodbye, Francis," she whispers. "Farewell."
And then it is Maya Fey sitting in front of him, unconscious. Francis reaches over and touches the spot where her lips met his skin. "Goodbye…Jeanne."
"I take it…she was important to you," she muses once she has fixed herself up, looking at Francis.
Francis looks away and stares into space. "She was," he chokes, suddenly having to hold back tears. "She was very important to me."
"I see," Maya replies, and as Francis stares at her he catches a glimpse of sadness, of girlishness, of the child she probably used to be before taking up this position. And he catches a glimpse of missing friends, of unfilled spaces, of somebody she was close to who just vanished.
"Do you…" he trails off, wondering how to put it. "Do you miss somebody this much as well?"
"I had a friend once," Maya reminisces quietly. "He would always save me every time I would get in trouble, and he was always so kind…" Maya trails off, and looks away. "He just…vanished one day." Sadness flashes in her gray eyes, and she touches the glowing charm on her neck. Remembering, because she does not want to forget.
Francis knows how it feels, that gaping hole where somebody once important to you used to stand. "Don't worry," he reassures her. "You'll see him again. I promise."
"Really?" Maya's head darts up, and again she allows herself to be the child she used to be.
Francis smiles gently at her. "He will, cheri. It happened to me, as well. Once I had a person who saved me, over and over again. Today, just a few minutes ago, I saw her again when I never thought I would."
"Today? Joan of Arc?" Maya's eyes widen with admiration and recognition. "Then you are…"
"I must be taken my leave, then, mon ami," he tells Maya abruptly, getting up. "Merci, Miss Fey. So much." He then leans in to her ear. "My secret is safe with you, isn't it?"
She nods earnestly. "Thank you as well, Mr. Bonnefoy," Maya says childishly. "Your secret is safe with me."
Francis smiles kindly at her – she is only a baby compared to him after all. "Au revoir then, Miss Fey. See you again someday." He waves kindly at her, and she waves back, smiling.
And he walks out of the main house with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
A/N: This scenario is…unsettlingly possible. Anyway, Here you go.
Notes: This takes place a short time before/during AJ, whatever floats your boat. Maya would be 26 by AJ if her ages during the GS1-3 games were anything to go by. France's age is listed as 26, America's as 19 (lolwut, he looks older than that, but then again Belarus is supposedly 19, too, and I thought she was like 15), and Hungary's as "a little older than Austria," who is 18-19-ish.
This isn't necessarily AU, I don't see how it can't be. Headcanon says that non-nations and non-political leaders (ie. Regular people) know of the nations' existence, but they don't necessarily know who the nations actually are. That is a secret. ;-)
That, and the nation-tans are walking amongst us RIGHT NOW, and only political leaders know about them. And Himaruya. 8D
I DO NOT OWN AXIS POWERS HETALIA.